The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    New dean breathes life into West Sac Center
    City College Dean, Art Pimentel, poses for a photo in his office at the West Sacramento Center, January 27, 2015. Luisa Morco|[email protected]

    Lawrence B Vossler | Staff Writer | [email protected]

    From humble beginnings, Art Pimentel rises to first run a city, now an outreach center

    The 2014-2015 school year at City College’s West Sacramento Center started off with a new dean.

    Art Pimentel’s long list of previous titles includes director of TRIO programs at Woodland City College, executive dean of the Yuba Community College District and even mayor of Woodland.

    But Pimentel, who is still a resident of Woodland, says he enjoys working in higher education.

    “I love my job,” says Pimentel. “I enjoy going to work and working with many committed staff, faculty members and students. And I’m not just saying that. I really love West Sacramento.”

    Pimentel’s rich life had humble beginnings. “I was the first in my family to graduate from college,” he says.

    His parents still work as seasonal farm workers.

    “They work here in Woodland in agriculture,” says Pimentel. “My dad’s worked for the same company for 37 years. And my mother works for the local tomato processing plant. She’s worked there for maybe 27 or 28 years.”

    Pimentel and his three siblings — two older brothers and a younger sister — grew up taking frequent and lengthy trips to Mexico to visit their grandfather.

    “The person who really instilled that political bug in me was my grandfather,” says Pimentel.

    That political drive led Pimentel to serve as the mayor of Woodland from 2008-2012.

    “Basically, in places like Woodland, it’s a smaller community, so it’s not like it’s a full-time position. So you’re able to do two things — your career and serving on the City Council. Is it a lot of work? Absolutely. Is it something that I very much enjoyed? Absolutely.”
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    While his grandfather was responsible for Pimentel’s political activism, Pimentel credits his parents for fluency in Spanish.

    “My parents really valued that we didn’t forget where we came from,” said Pimentel. “And that we didn’t forget the language. In hindsight, it was wonderful because we’re all fully bilingual. We were able to retain the language, and you don’t see that very often.”

    When it comes to Pimentel’s new job duties at the West Sacramento Center, the faculty and staff have positive reviews.

    “Dean Pimentel has made several improvements in services to our students in his first seven months at the center,” says West Sacramento
    Center Supervisor Janet Lake.

    “He has increased tutoring, dedicated space for centralizing our Learning Resources materials, and is working with the West Sacramento community to match services and courses to the needs of the West Sacramento population,” says Lake.

    Pimentel says they’ve opened a student service space on the third floor of the West Sacramento Center, added classes to the class schedule, and reached out to high schools, making sure staff and counselors understand and know the center’s course schedule so they can encourage
    students take classes.

    Pimentel’s expansions and additions have struck a chord with many people in the center.

    “I was struck by his ‘students first’ attitude, which is a reminder that our No. 1 priority is to help students reach their educational goals,” says KelMunger, an adjunct professor of journalism at American River College.

    Pimentel says he also wants to connect with and reach out to the West Sacramento community about the diverse services, curriculum and programs the West Sacramento Center has to offer and increase the number of students at the center.

    “I love the community colleges,” said Pimentel. “I see a lot of myself in students here at the West Sacramento Center. And we have such a positive impact on our students who have to go through some difficult personal situations. We can make such a difference as educators, certainly in West Sacramento and all my other community colleges. It’s a wonderful position to be in to make these positive impacts.”

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